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Illinois study: Backyards, urban parks support bird diversity in unique ways

Researchers from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences tracked bird diversity in public parks and private backyards in twin cities in Illinois with significantly different development histories and green space management practices. They found that birds rely on both public and private spaces in different seasons and for different reasons. The study linked park management practices aimed at conservation and restoration to increased bird diversity and the persistence of rarer species. 

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Voices of ACES Blog

"Earth Day is my favorite day of the year"

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To celebrate Earth Week, meet Emily Rohrbach, a junior studying Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) with a concentration in Fish and Wildlife Conservation Biology in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. This past winter break, Emily had the opportunity to partake in a shor

Illinois study: Tropical birds could tolerate warming better than expected

Consider the globe, spinning silently in space. Its poles and its middle, the equator, remain relatively stable, thermally speaking, for the duration of Earth’s annual circuit around the sun. The spaces between — Earth’s temperate zones — experience seasons, with their characteristic temperature extremes. 

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Poachers beware: New online tool traces illegal lion products back to source

URBANA, Ill. — A new conservation tool from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is helping protect lions across Africa, where populations have plummeted in recent decades due to poaching and other factors.

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ACES expert: Bats take spotlight during Bat Week

Bats come out of the shadows during Bat Week (Oct. 24-31, 2023), an international awareness campaign that aims to educate the public about bat conservation in the week leading up to Halloween.

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Hope for salamanders? Illinois study recalibrates climate change effects

URBANA, Ill. – For tiny salamanders squirming skin-to-soil, big-picture weather patterns may seem as far away as outer space. But for decades, scientists have mostly relied on free-air temperature data at large spatial scales to predict future salamander distributions under climate change. The outlook was dire for the mini ecosystem engineers, suggesting near elimination of habitat in crucial areas.

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Deer protected from deadly disease by newly discovered genetic differences

URBANA, Ill. – It was the height of summer 2022 when the calls started coming in. Scores of dead deer suddenly littered rural properties and park preserves, alarming the public and inconveniencing landowners. According to officials at the Urbana Park District, it was Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), a midge-borne viral illness that pops up in white-tailed deer populations around the state every few years.

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Reign of invasive rusty crayfish may be ending; Wisconsin lakes rejoice

URBANA, Ill. – Just how hard should natural resource managers fight invasive species after they establish? A new University of Illinois study suggests some invaders – even highly successful ones – can die off naturally, leaving native communities to rebound with minimal management effort. 

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Why are muskies the fish of 10,000 casts? Illinois study explains

URBANA, Ill. – For anglers, landing a muskellunge, or muskie, is a big deal. The “fish of 10,000 casts” is notoriously elusive, making the massive fish an even bigger prize when one finally strikes a lure.

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Camera-trap study provides photographic evidence of pumas' ecological impact

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A camera-trap study of two ecosystems – one with pumas and one without – adds to scientists’ understanding of the many ways apex predators influence the abundance, diversity and habits of other animals, including smaller carnivores.

Reported in the journal Ecosphere, the study followed multiple members of the order Carnivora, looking at how the largest carnivore in each locale influenced the behavior and presence of other animals in the same vicinity.

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